RealTime IT News

Red Hat's Real Time Coming Sooner Than Later

Real Time Linux will be available to Red Hat  customers sooner than had been originally expected, but unlike many Red Hat innovations, the new Real Time capabilities will not show up first in Red Hat's Fedora community Linux distribution.

In many cases where Red Hat is integrating new technologies to Linux, it will first debut the feature in its Fedora distribution. That's not going to be the case with Real Time.

"Initially there will not be a Fedora Real Time offering," Tim Burke Director Emerging Technologies Red Hat told internetnews.com. "The reason why is not because we're trying to keep everything secret and in fact there already is an upstream sandbox where the real time development work is being done."

Burke explained that Fedora represents a different user base and will typically pull kernel updates very rapidly from the mainline of kernel development.

"Fedora is great for integrating projects but Real Time is just a kernel and it doesn't impact other things," Burke said. "From a release point of view it doesn't have the same integration challenges as SELinux."

That's not to say that Fedora won't have a real time version at some point.

"As we get more of the full set of Real Time patches upstream, a year from now when everything is upstream then it makes a lot of sense to have a Real Time Fedora initiative," Burke said. "But because not everything is in the kernel now it doesn't make sense now.

"Originally our game plan was to get all the capabilities upstream and then have everything integrated for RHEL 6 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux)," he said. "There has been so much pull from customers so we're not going to wait another 18 months. Our intention now is to have an offering well in advance of RHEL 6."

Red Hat recently released RHEL 5 and typically releases full enterprise revisions every 18-24 months. Burke noted in a keynote at the Linux on Wall Street conference that Real Time Linux enhancements will significantly improve the deterministic qualities of Linux and reduce or eliminate application latency.

"We now have the code out and are working with a number of our partners and customers," Burke said. "We're effectively doing our beta evaluation at this point in time."

Once customers agree that the Red Hat Real Time product is effective and working properly, the plan is for Red Hat to quickly productize the full offering.

Red Hat also argued that current efforts by vendors Concurrent, MontaVista and Wind River in the Real Time Linux space are not at the same level as what Red Hat will be putting into the marketplace.

Red Hat's engineers are leading the way in the kernel community to add Real Time enhancements to the mainstream Linux kernel . Other vendors like MontaVista , Wind River and Concurrent also offer Real Time Linux distributions though Burke thinks that Red Hat is different.

Though MontaVista helped to kick start Real Time Linux efforts a few years back, Burke argued that Montavista no longer a leader in this space.

"We're glad to have them as part of the community they are good testers but their contribution rate has not been significant," Burke said.

When it comes to Wind River Burke said that Wind River is successful in the small footprint/constrained device market. In contrast, the customers that Red Hat is targeting are financial service providers, federal sector and telcos that are not constrained small footprint.

"In the accounts that we go to we never hear MontaVista, Timesys or Wind River, they're the small footprint market and we're going after the broader market," Burke said.

Burke was somewhat less polite in talking about Real Time Linux vendor Concurrent, which also integrates with Novell for Novell's Real Time Linux offering.

"Concurrent is not working in the upstream community to get their changes in," Burke alleged. "Concurrent is effectively a proprietary branch, they are not players in the open source space."

"Any product based on Concurrent is inherently a short term tactical approach that has no longer term viability upstream," Burke said emphatically. "From a longer term approach they may look as good as our initial offering today but if you look out a year form now in terms of maintenance. if you're a divergent branch over time you're lost."

"That's why Red Hat's view is that if your code is not upstream it doesn't count, it doesn't exist."